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Tuesday, 16th May 2017

Blathnaid (13) is Drogheda’s youngest ever Young Innovator Competition winner

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Blathnaid Murphy of Our Lady’s, Greenhills, the overall winner of the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) competition with her company “Daisy’s Pawesome Bowties” receives her awards from Geoff Fitzpatrick of Jack Cody’s Brewery. Photo: Andy Spearman.

Some of Drogheda’s brightest secondary school students had the nerve wracking task of pitching their ideas to the judges of the Drogheda Young Innovator (DYI) competition 2017 on Friday last.

The fact that the final took place in the East Coast Bakehouse premises and there was a plentiful supply of delicious biscuits on hand did make their task a bit easier however as the 20 shortlisted projects from the original 100 applications, were reviewed in details by the judges.

The DYI competition was started four years ago to encourage students from the area to develop their sense of curiosity and to come up with bright ideas in one of three categories - Science and Technology, Enterprise/Business or Social Enterprise.

Of course they had to do more than come up with the idea, they also had to develop that idea into a project that they could test, refine, evaluate and, perhaps most importantly of all, communicate its value to the judges. As the students were told in the entry form: “A good idea badly communicated can remain as your ‘secret’ –an ‘uncut gem’.”

The 2017 winners who received certificates and cash prizes included:

  • Drogheda Young Innovator 2017 - Blathnaid Murphy from Our Lady’s College, Greenhills for her project in the “Daisy's Pawsome Bowties” which was also the winner of the Best Individual Business category. A just 13 years of age Blathnaid is the youngest ever winner of the competition.
  • Business Group Category winners were Emma O’Brien and Eleanor McHugh of Our Lady’s College, Greenhills  for their project YAMA music portfolio which developed an on-line portal for people seeking work in the music sector.
  • Business Individual Category was won by Blathnaid Murphy from Our Lady’s College, Greenhills for her e-commerce business “Daisy's Pawsome Bowties” which sells pet accessories on line.
  • Social Enterprise Individual Category winner was Patrick Dorian from Scoil ui Mhuiri, Dunleer for his project “Help bees throw seeds”.
  • Social Enterprise Group Category winners were Matthew O’Loughlin, Kaan Mese and Obefemi William Funmilayo from Drogheda Grammar School for their project “Totem”
  •  The Science Individual Category was won by Niamh Ann Kelly of Our Lady’s College, Greenhills for her project which looked at “The antimicrobial potential of tree bark extracts”.
  • The Science Group Category was won by Jack McGovern and Barry Kirwan, TY students from St. Oliver’s Community College, for a project called “Edible insects for sustainable future”.

The judges of the Drogheda Young Innovators (DYI) competition were Geoff Fitzpatrick of Fitz Scientific and Jack Cody’s Brewery, Alison Cowzer of East Coat Bakehouse who also hosted the finals, Cormac Bohan of State Street and Sean McEntee of The Mill Enterprise Hub.

Chairman of the panel, Geoff Fitzpatrick, told Drogheda Life that there had been a very high standard this year, particularly in the science and business categories.

“People have demonstrated that they can out a product or idea together and go out and sell it” hesaid.

Speaking about the overall winner, Blathnaid Murphy’s on-line business “Daisy's Pawsome Bowties”, Geoff said that everything about the business, from the original idea to the business plan and the products and the way she went out to sell it, was top class.

“I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about Blathnaid Murphy” he said, “I’ve no doubt that she’ll move on to something bigger and better and this experience will certainly stand to her.”

Breanndán Casey of The Mill Enterprise said that the competition has gone from strength to strength each year, and with circa 100 applications, it’s fair to say that Innovation is alive and well in Drogheda.

“We work with our partners State Street, Coca-Cola International Services, East Coast Bakehouse, and Fitz Scientific to visit all nine schools in the region to highlight the innovation that is currently occurring locally, and to ensure that students have an opportunity to flex their creative muscles”.


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